Scariest scenario for Google? iPhone Apps.

Apple’s iPhone and other smart phones are generally good for the big guys at Google: And of course anything that get more people using the internet from their phones and using the most dominant search engine is going to one day make Google make their mark in mobile advertising…that is, as long as it’s not cutting down on the amount of time they use the web and Google on their computers.)

But Apple’s iPhone App Store is not as good for Google. While Google has a tiny business displaying in-app ads, the rest of the movement toward mobile apps and app stores is currently bad for Google. Why?

Time spent in apps is competing with and replacing time spent on the mobile web.

There are some Google display ads in iPhone apps, but no direct line to Google Search or search ads, where Google stands to make the most money. (The good news is that Google doesn’t make much money yet from the mobile web, so this isn’t immediately disruptive.)

Time spent in apps is competing with and replacing time spent on the real web.

This is probably the scariest scenario for Google. If I am sitting on my couch playing iPhone games or reading an article in Instapaper Pro instead of goofing around on the web on my laptop that is potentially real lost revenue for Google.
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Similarly, even if I’m using my iPhone’s web browser, using the mobile web and Google search, Google is probably not monetizing those searches nearly as well as they do on the computer.

Users are learning to go to an app to find the information they need as opposed to going to Google or the web.

For example, if I want a restaurant review, I don’t go to Google to type in the name of the restaurant. I go to the Yelp app. Or Urbanspoon. Or whatever. Either way, no Google there.
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The App Store search engine built into every iPhone is becoming a very important search engine.
One billion apps downloaded means hundreds of millions or billions of searches conducted. Google doesn’t power it or sell ads there.

The upshot for now is that mobile advertising, especially in iPhone apps, is still too small to matter to Google. Instead, even a small improvement to Google’s main search advertising business would be more lucrative to the company than spending that effort on iPhone ads.

But eventually, it’s possible that the mobile web and mobile apps will be important enough for a significant amount of Google’s attention. At which point they’ll either have to roll out an awesome ad model the way they did for web searches or buy one of the leading mobile advertising companies.

And yes, Google does publish some iPhone apps of its own. But on the iPhone, the most important Google-powered apps Maps and YouTube are built by Apple, and don’t include any ads today.

Downturn in the Economy and Online Strategy

You don’t have to be a member of the Federal Reserve Board to know that marketers across all sectors are hunkering down and searching for the fastest and cheapest ways to acquire and retain customers as budgets evaporate.
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In the race for low cost, high yield tactics suspicion naturally falls on digital and online media with its well known but often un-harvested ROI promise.

According to Lee Odden’s Online Marketing Blog, blogging, SEO, PPC social networking and e-mail are the top 5 tactics marketers will emphasize in the next 6 months, though not all will yield quick or positive results if you’re not already working on them. Here’ are a few things to consider before embracing these tactics.

Blogging. Considered the human face of corporations and businesses, blogs without traffic and without a point of view don’t matter. ts-1
It’s not enough just to craft customer-friendly messages in blog formats. You’ve got to get customers to click, read and believe. This demands content that’s more textured than the party line sufficient to bring them back, buy something or talk up your brand.

There is no hard research linking blogging with increased brand awareness, preference or advocacy, though company blogs with large audiences should logically develop these things. Similarly there are not a lot of cases that show how blogs drive traffic to brand or ecommerce sites. If you aren’t already blogging and building audiences now isn’t the time to start if you want measurable results in the near term.
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SEO. Seven of ten searchers click on the natural results first. But if you’re not on the first page you’re toast.

Getting to the first page requires huge investments of skill, tools and dedicated players. If you have them in-house or can outsource them efficiently, this is a good bet though improvement is incremental and sometimes glacial due to intense competition and almost constant gaming by both search engines and optimizers.

PPC. Play per click search advertising is the fastest and easiest thing you can do. With even modest budgets you can incrementally improve traffic and results. If you’re willing to monkey with it daily, you can have the illusion of control and can quickly and easily see your progress, parse your dollars and experiment with new or different key words and phrases. Even from a standing start PPC advertising can quickly have a positive ROI on your business.

Social Networking. This is the most hyped and least understood marketing tool. Reaching out to large numbers of customers linked to each other in social forums using the images, language and customs they expect and like makes good sense.

Some brands have amassed large numbers of “friends” others have distributed information and coupons, prompted interaction and feedback, run contests, collected data and even sold some merchandise.

So far however no reliable messaging or media formulas have emerged. Now the sites, eager to monetize their memberships and prove their financiers right, are aggressively selling different flavors of behaviorally targeted advertising; which itself has no track record or widely accepted success stories. At relatively modest costs social networks are a great experimental tool and marketing test lab well worth your time and attention; though keep your expectations for a fast payoff low.

E-Mail. In site of widespread hatred of SPAM and the near ubiquitous deployment of increasingly sophisticated spam filters, outbound opt-in e-mail is the most cost effective and reliable tool you can use. E-mail works.

You can create and transmit campaigns that work fast and cheap. Real-time feedback on delivery, opens, clicks and action allow you to revise, re-target and re-engage customers quickly at modest costs. And frequency works much like direct mail with each sequential blast of the same message generally yielding 50% of the previous one. The key determinants of success are a clean opt-in list, a credible FROM line, a motivating SUBJ line with an actionable offer inside. Shorter copy with minimal graphics and clearly marked calls to action work best. If you only have enough budget to do one thing, bet the farm on e-mail.

Affiliate Marketing. This approach offers the prospect of everyone helping everyone else. Though in reality it’s about finding the right balance between greed and self-interest. The affiliate networks offer automated platforms and minimal advice. For most programs the 80/20 rule applies — a minority of sites will yield the biggest payoffs.

Affiliates are looking for opportunities to generate no-fuss incremental revenue with minimal effort and involvement. In some cases this works like gangbusters. In others its a long hard slog. Setting up an effective affiliate network takes at least 90 days and requires dedicated staff and expertise. If you start now, it might begin to pay out in 2009.
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Microsoft Makes Deal with Facebook

Microsoft recently failed in its pursuit of Yahoo. It is paying people to use its search engine. Now Microsoft thinks it has found a promising source of users for its foundering search service: Facebook, the social networking site.
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Microsoft said Thursday at a meeting with financial analysts at its headquarters in Redmond, Wash., that it would soon begin providing Web search services and associated advertisements by the end of the year on the American portion of the popular social network.
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It makes sense in business the adage location, location , location is the mantra retailers use as one of the keys to successful business. “One of the issues with Microsoft search is that people just haven’t been exposed to it,” said Greg Sterling, founder of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm. “Familiarity and inertia keep people using what they use on the Web.”
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To Microsoft, Facebook is a quick way to expand the audience for its search engine. More than 29 million people actively use Facebook in the United States. They will soon see prominent displays of Microsoft’s Live Search box on their friends’ and their own Facebook pages.

The agreement augments an existing advertising deal that the companies struck in 2006 and later expanded globally. Microsoft already sells and manages display advertisements on Facebook. Last October, the companies inched even closer together when Microsoft invested $240 millionfor a 5 percent ownership stake in Facebook.

The search deal could be a lift to Microsoft as it seeks to catch up with Google and Yahoo in the search business. In June, Google accounted for 61.5 percent of search queries in the United States, dwarfing Yahoo, with 20.9 percent, and Microsoft, with 9.2 percent of queries, according to tracking firm comScore. One of the reasons Microsoft pursued Yahoo so doggedly this year was to increase its share in the overall market.

The deal marks the second important distribution agreement for Microsoft’s search service in as many months. In June, Hewlett-Packard, the world’s largest PC maker, agreed to put Microsoft’s service on its desktops.

Useful Techniques to Optimize Your Blog for The Major Search Engines

Nick Stamoulis wrote these ideas regarding effective blogging, should help us all I think. Blogs are generally a win-win situation IF you’re willing to set yourself up for success. To that end, here are some useful techniques to optimize your blog for the major search engines.
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1) Update your content often! – This works for both your readers and the search engines. Your readers love fresh content and it gives them a reason to check your blog more often. If the search engine crawlers determine that your site is updated frequently, they will be more inclined to index your site more often and your ranking opportunities are enhanced.

2) Focus on one keyword per post –It’s OK to provide variations and modifiers on your keyword or phrase but don’t overdo it. In your writing, if you discover other ideas that you want to include, it’s often best to separate that idea into a different blog post.

3) Use the keyword in the title – Use the keyword you want to optimize in the title of the post and make it descriptive. Follow up by using it in the text of your post as well but make it comfortably fit into the content without seeming forced or repetitive.

4) Put the keyword in the URL – Putting the keyword or phrase into the page URL adds extra relevance to the page from a search engine’s perspective. Instead of http://www.yetanotherblog,net/IrrelevantQueryString, try http://www.yetanotherblog.net/ keyword-topic-title

5) Provide relevant links – Look around for related sites that reinforce or even differ with the point you wish to make in your blog post and include them in the body of the text. To take this a step further, make the link itself descriptive. Instead of saying, “Check out this guy’s opinion here,” say, “Check out this guy’s opinion on keyword here’. Also, remember that other blog owners love links as much as you do so if you link to their site, they may be more inclined to link back to yours.

6) Make your blog easy to bookmark and share –Don’t overdo it and make your page seem too crowded with these things but make it easy for your readers to bookmark your site and share it with others by including bookmarking widgets from Digg, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us, etc. These are great tools for creating good linking opportunities and add a very effective Social Media Marketing angle to the blog.

7) Make every post count – It’s important to update your blog often for the reasons stated above but you also need to focus on the quality of the post. Put yourself in another blogger’s position and ask yourself: Is this relevant? Would I want to link to it? Would it be of value to MY readers?

“Tag” You’re It. Impact of New Technologies on the Web

As we are all on Xanga and are familiar with “tags” I thought it would be interesting to write about search engines. Two new technologies that impact a client’s media plan the most these days are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
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SEO is the process of improving and placing a website in the top of the search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN. It increases the accessibility of a website and improves the amount of clients who see and visit it. Search engine optimization improves a website’s position in the search engines on the basis of identification by keywords and phrases that people use to search services and products.

“Last year advertisers spent $5.75 billion on SEM, a forty four percent increase over the previous year.” (www.zeroonezero.com, 2007) SEM is an online advertising strategy that aims to make a company’s website position higher within the search results of the major search engines so that more targeted visitors visit the website.

SEM services such as Pay Per Click search engine advertising or organic SEO have become major categories in online advertising spending in the past five years. “This year the spending on SEM will reach $7.19 billion and by 2010 we can expect spending to reach at least $11 billion.” (www.zeroonezero.com, 2007)

These new technologies to improve gaining targeted traffic to a product or services web site are essential for delivering strong results. Imagine a site being one of nearly 256,000,000 competing web pages on Yahoo Web Results for example. The average consumer may only consider the top ten at most.

Even if a site is considered the best site in the market if it is not ranked highly by SEO it could be deemed unimportant and not worthy of a look by potential users.

Growth of Search Engine Marketing

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Last year advertisers spent $5.75 billion on search engine marketing (SEM), a 44% increase over the previous year. SEM is an online advertising strategy that aims to make your company’s website position higher within the search results of the major search engines so that more targeted visitors visit your website.

SEM services such as Pay Per Click search engine advertising or organic SEO have become major categories in online advertising spending in the past five years. Pay Per Click programs account for $4.70 billion, 81% of the $5.75 spent on SEM last year even though more companies use organic search engine optimization. The same report estimates that this year the spending on SEM will reach $7.19 billion and by 2010 we can expect spending to reach at least $11 billion.

Currently, 91% of Internet users report conducting searches daily, making search engines the predominant way to generate traffic to a website. Research shows that 85% of all visits to websites originate at the major search engines and that if a company’s website does not have a page appearing in the top 10 search engine result positions, the likelihood that they will visit a company’s website decreases dramatically.

In fact, 62% of search engine users click on results within the first page, 90% of users click on results within the first three pages and 36% of search engine users believe that the companies with websites listed at the top are the best destination websites for the keyword or keyword phrase they are searching. Search engine marketing is the preferred way to position your website within this crucial search point.

Internet advertising spending is up over 72% since 2000 and is expected to increase another 13% this year. Advertisers are recognizing the importance of advertising online and SEM services are the first step to making their online advertising as efficient as possible. Companies everywhere are realizing that without a professional website design company specializing in SEM services their website will not appear in the top search results and will not generate the traffic they need.